Changing technology, work-life balance and growing competition for expertise will shape labs of the future
Science and research are key to addressing humanity’s biggest challenges, now and in the future. Creating the right spaces and environments for research to thrive is essential.
The scientific research ecosystem goes far beyond the physical spaces of laboratories. Among many things, it encompasses the people making research possible, the places where scientific discoveries happen, and the infrastructure required to sustain innovation. Only by recognising the extent of this ecosystem can we begin to understand the complex interactions between its people, spaces and contexts, and how the spaces we create can respond meaningfully to these diverse requirements and desires.
The report offers recommendations for the design of labs of the future:
- Wellbeing and place: While scientific functionality will remain key, there will be a greater emphasis on user needs and experience
- Adaptable spaces: Growing demand for highly adaptable spaces with a focus on technology infrastructure and digital connectivity
- Digitalisation: Advances in AI and robotics will mean smart labs are here to stay, and cloud-based labs will enable researchers to connect in real-time
- Networked spaces: Co-working, DIY spaces and living labs will provide researchers with access to equipment and the scientific community outside the institutional framework
- From human-robot interaction to cloud labs, the future research ecosystem identifies the key elements that will shape the future of scientific laboratories.
More communication in the context of laboratory work is the key to innovation. Digital tools and devices that assist with the exchange of knowledge combined with large, light-filled and open spaces can create a positive working atmosphere.”